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WOMEN _ CONFLICT Powered By Docstoc
					                       WOMEN & CONFLICT

                                              Key Issues

                                              Lessons Learned

                                              Program Options


                                        WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   
Conflict arises due to a complex set of variables coming together and reinforcing each other at
multiple levels and at critical junctures of a country or region’s development. It leaves in its af-
termath significant development and humanitarian challenges. USAID recognizes that conflict
is an inherent and legitimate part of social and political life, and is often a precursor to positive
change.Yet the consequences of conflict can also be alarmingly high. Therefore, USAID has
adopted a new policy by which it will aggressively expand its development and implementation
of programs mitigating the causes and consequences of
conflict, instability, fragility and extremism. Since develop-        FROM THE DIRECTOR
ment and humanitarian assistance programs are increasingly
implemented in situations of open or latent violence, USAID must explicitly incorporate sensi-
tivity to the dynamics of conflict and instability in their design or execution.

The Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and
Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA/CMM) of the United States Agency for International Develop-
ment (USAID) was established to provide technical leadership on conflict, instability, extrem-
ism and now terrorism and insurgency to Missions and our Washington bureaus.The vast
majority of our field missions and staff are currently working in areas that are either in conflict,
coming out of conflict, are at high-risk for violence and instability, or are facing growing extrem-
ist threats. A central objective of the office is to integrate or “mainstream” best practices in
conflict management and mitigation into more traditional development sectors such as agricul-
ture, economic growth, democracy, education, and health. Increasingly, DCHA/CMM is also
working with missions to help them understand how to work in countries experiencing growing
fragility, instability and in some cases insurgencies. Where appropriate, DCHA/CMM will be an
advocate for stable change.

As Director of DCHA/CMM, I am pleased to introduce this document on women and conflict.
This guide identifies the key issues and methods for understanding the common impact of
conflict on women and some of the creative ways that USAID can respond to address the most
vital needs of those affected by conflict.

Elisabeth Kvitashvili
Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

                                                                           WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007       

women and conflict: an introductory guide
to programming
While conflict inflicts suffering on everyone, women are particularly
affected by its short- and long-term effects. Sexual assault and
exploitation are frequently employed as tools of war; victimization leads
to isolation, alienation, prolonged emotional trauma, and unwanted
pregnancies that often result in abandoned children. As culturally-
designated caregivers, women must struggle to support their families
and keep their households together while the traditional bread-
winners – husbands and sons – are caught up in the fighting and are
unable to provide for their families. The new role as primary provider
exposes many women to further abuse. Conflict shatters the comfort
of predictable daily routines and expectations. Women and girls are
equally affected in a fragile environment where social services they
once depended on degrade or disappear. Although conflict may, in some                    KEY ISSUES 
cases, improve gender relations as a result of shifts in gender roles -
some changes even improve women’s rights - by and large its impact on
women is devastatingly negative.                                                 LESSOnS LEArnED 

Women are rarely mere passive victims of conflict and should not be
treated as such. Women can play active roles in the events that lead             PrOGrAM OPTIOnS 7
to fighting and instability, and even in combat itself - yet they have also
served as the forerunners of peace movements that have ended conflict.
However, the determined efforts of women to bring an end to fighting is                 rESOUrCES 2
usually behind the scenes.

This introductory guide describes the ways in which conflict and fragility
may increase gender inequities and suggests programming approaches
that address these issues while building on the strengths of women. With
this guide, DCHA/CMM aims to both raise awareness among USAID
Mission employees of issues surrounding women and conflict, and to
assist USAID by integrating conflict and gender concerns.

The project coordinators and the authors wish to thank Judy Benjamin
for her early work on this guide, which has benefited from substantial
discussions with Sahana Dharmapuri of the Office of Women in
Development in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade
at USAID, and Brenda Opperman, former Gender Advisor for USAID/
Iraq, and from dialogues with development partners such as Inclusive
Security: Women Waging Peace. This document follows their lead in
shaping a guide with suggestions for USAID Mission staff.

                                                                         WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   
    defining women in conflict

    This guide focuses on the                 following categories:
    particular roles, needs, and
    vulnerabilities of women in                •     Agents of change
    conflict settings so that the most         •     Active participants
    appropriate interventions can be                 (combatants)
    determined and initiated. The              •     Supporting participants or
    term “women” is purposefully                     shields (forced or voluntary
    used because the focus is on their               camp followers, cooks,
    role in environments of instability,             wives, slaves, etc.)
    fragility, and conflict, rather than on    •     Victims and spoils of war
    broader gender issues. “Gender”            •     newly responsible care
    is used where appropriate                        providers
    to refer to social and cultural
    issues relating to female-male            These roles will be addressed
    interactions and roles. By focusing       throughout the guide and
    on the roles and lives of women,          programmatic options will be
    the guide acknowledges that               provided accordingly. new
    interventions are more effective          programs are not always
    and lasting when they integrate           necessary; these options may
    an understanding of women’s               simply be incorporated into
    perspectives, while at the same           existing programs. However,
    time fostering awareness that             this is not always the case and
    crises of fragility and conflict can      opportunities to address the role
    challenge and alter gender roles          of women in conflict can be lost
    - often radically and rapidly.            if the surrounding issues are not
                                              acknowledged and understood.
    Gender and development issues
    may overlap or be identical to
    those relating to women and
    conflict. Many of the key issues
    and best practices identified in
    these pages will in fact be the
    same as those that are useful
    in general development settings
    and/or in humanitarian/emergency
    responses. However, the focus
    here is on women’s roles in conflict
    situations, and the best practices
    for addressing them. Although
    women’s roles vary in every
    conflict, they generally fall into the

key iSSueS
cultural context &                    women’s position in society is
                                      relatively strong, in other cases
SenSitivity - StatuS
                                      religion, tradition, legal status
& role of women in                    or other issues may present
Society                               substantial obstacles to program          union of the
While the United nations and many                                               committeeS of
in the international community        women aS agentS                           SoldierS’ motherS
recognize equal rights and status                                               of ruSSia (uScmr)
for women as a legitimate goal
                                      of change and
to pursue globally, the speed and     peacemakerS                               Mothers of russia is a human
manner in which this goal can                                                   rights non-governmental
be attained will vary according to    Women must be involved in                 organization (nGO) founded by
the cultural setting. Just as each    conflict prevention, resolution           the mothers of soldiers in 1989
country has its own unique culture    and management efforts at                 to protect draftees, soldiers,
and traditions, each society views    all levels. When they are not             and their families from human
the role of women differently. This   active participants, the views,           rights abuses committed by
will vary by country/region and can   needs and interests of half of the        the military. The nGO handles
be influenced by such factors as      population are not represented,           individual complaints regarding
education, religious and cultural     and therefore interventions will          human rights violations in the
norms, the legal status of women,     not be as appropriate or enduring.        armed forces, provides human
and the degree of exposure            Because the consequences of               rights education to draftees and
to Western ideas and culture.         war weigh so heavily on the lives         their parents, and peacefully
Program options will therefore        of women, they naturally show             advocates adherence to human
need to be adapted to particular      great interest in peace processes.        rights in russia.
settings, even in emergency and       In some cases, peace itself may
humanitarian responses.               come much later if women are
                                      not involved in the process. For
Understanding the culture and         example, the leadership and
currently prescribed role of          diligence of women as leaders
women in a society is absolutely      of human rights organizations
necessary when working on             has been critical in keeping the
gender-specific programs. This        international community aware of
remains true during conflict and in   the continuing conflict in Chechnya
its aftermath. Women’s role and       and growing instability in russia’s
status in society will determine      other republics in the north
best practices and the appropriate    Caucasus. These groups have
means of intervention in order to     pressed the russian authorities
empower – rather than endanger        to address the rampant violation
– women. While in some cases          of human rights across the region,

                                                                          WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007     
               KEY ISSUES

                                 and the women-led Memorial, a           nevertheless, women are usually
                                 russian nGO, has provided the           left out of formal peacemaking
                                 world with documented information       activities unless they exhibit
                                 on human rights violations from         remarkable determination to seat
                                 the north Caucasus and especially       themselves at the peace table.
                                 Chechnya. Mothers of russia,           Despite notable progress for
                                 another russian nGO, has                women over the past decade, even
                                 pressed for peace and an end to         when they manage to play a role
                                 the fighting, and the Mothers of        in peace negotiations, women tend
                                 Beslan argued passionately for a        to fade into the background when
                                 real accounting of the causes and
                                                                         it comes to rebuilding destroyed
                                 consequences of the tragic 2004
                                                                         economies and reconstructing
                                 school hostage standoff, attempted
                                                                         war-torn societies. Their efforts
                                 rescue, and massacre.
                                                                         in rebuilding social networks are
                                 Women often play decisive               viewed as tangential to formal
Betty BigomBe:                                                           mechanisms, and women do not
                                 roles in negotiating the peace
Seeking peace in                 process. To do so effectively, they     receive their deserved recognition.
northern uganda                  must be empowered politically           In most cases, women’s efforts
                                 and economically, and must              towards peace go unrecognized
Betty Bigombe has played a       be adequately represented at            and are under-reported, as data
pivotal role in moving forward   all levels of decision-making.          collected on peace processes is
the peace process between                                                often not disaggregated by gender.
                                 Despite the difficulties conflict-
the Lord’s resistance Army
                                 affected women face, their role in
and the Government of                                                    The efforts women make are not
                                 peacemaking has steadily grown
Uganda. negotiating directly                                             without many obstacles and risks.
with rebel and government        over the past several years. In
                                 Liberia, the Women’s Peace              In the Democratic republic of
leaders, Bigombe has worked                                              Congo for example, the national
tirelessly, mediating between    Initiative made major strides
                                 towards a peaceful resolution of        Democratic Institute has developed
the two entities, and has made                                           a women’s political party program
a significant contribution to    the 14-year conflict by pushing
                                 for disarmament of the fighting         called “Win with Women” that
bringing the country closer to
                                 factions before the signing of a        allows women to partake in
                                 peace accord. In some war-torn          roundtable discussions, attend
                                 countries - Guatemala, Burundi,         campaign skills training for female
                                 Cyprus, Bosnia, and South Africa,       candidates and conduct meetings
                                 among others - women’s peace            with political party leaders. The
                                 organizations and coalitions have       program works to assist women
                                 played a crucial role in helping to     to overcome the many difficulties
                                 bring about peace.                      they face when they try to join
                                                                         the political process due to the
                                                                         lack of a forum for discussion,
                                 1         For more information on the
                                 Mothers of russia nGO, see www.ucsmr.   training, or buy-in from existing

political leaders. The roundtable       women aS
discussions give women a venue
                                        comBatantS and
to discuss the difficulties they
encounter and identify possible         participantS in
solutions, and the consultative         diSarmament,
meetings allow women to                 demoBilization, and
demonstrate to political leaders the    reintegration (ddr)
importance of including women in
the political process.                  An important dimension of the
                                        relationship between women and
Because women do not have               conflict is women’s involvement
the same level of influence that        with combatant forces. Women
men do in most societies, they          are found among combatants as
are easily marginalized. Keeping        forced participants (often as a
the peace may be viewed as a            result of abduction), as dependent
‘male’ role and women may be            “followers” of fighters, in supporting
left out of that important area of      roles assisting fighters but not
responsibility. However, when           carrying weapons, as “shields”
women organize themselves for           for combatants, and as active
peace efforts, they can significantly   combatant soldiers. Women and
impact the peace process. This          girls may have multiple roles
has been demonstrated by the            among fighting forces—at times
                                        domestic servant, cook, sexual
Mano river Women’s Peace
                                        partner, porter, guard, informant,
network, in which women in three
                                        and soldier.
West African countries (Liberia,
Sierra Leone, and Guinea) were          Women who have been associated
able to successfully participate in     with fighting forces need
and influence the outcome of the        specialized assistance during
peace process. The Mano river           the process of disarmament,
model needs to be supported by          demobilization, and reintegration
                                        (DDr), but they are often
international agencies, and women
                                        overlooked. This may be due
need support to expand their roles
                                        in part to the fact that there are
in reconstruction efforts.
                                        typically fewer female combatants
                                        than male, yet it is also the
                                        case that the number of women
                                        combatants or associates of
                                        combatant forces may be partially
                                        hidden because of long-standing
                                        attitudes that classify soldiers
                                        as male. Many female fighters
                                        do not present themselves at

                                                                           WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   

                 DDr centers because they do           of medical care, harsh living
                 not believe they will be entitled     conditions and psychological
                 to benefits. Yet the number           trauma require that those who
                 of women who participate in           have been conscripted into rebel
                 fighting forces is increasing in      forces - boys and girls alike -
                 nearly all conflicts. Women have      receive specialized attention in
                 constituted significant proportions   order to be reintegrated into civil
                 of combatants and combat support      society.
                 operations in conflicts in Eritrea,   Addressing the needs of women
                 Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Vietnam,        combatants presents particular
                 Cambodia, Sri Lanka, nepal,           challenges. Female ex-combatants
                 Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda, and    may have experienced a newfound
                 rwanda.                               degree of autonomy and even
                 Likewise, evidence shows an           prestige within armed groups.
                 increase in the forced recruitment    Women combatants may have held
                 of children of both sexes into        the same responsibilities as male
                 armed forces. rural villages          soldiers in terms of fighting, in
                 provide the main recruitment          addition to functioning as porters,
                 base for most insurgent armed         cooks, cleaners, nurses, and camp
                 groups, and young rural women         “wives.” However, they often face
                 may voluntarily join fighting         severe feelings of personal guilt
                 groups to escape the drudgery         and may be rejected by society,
                 and hopelessness they may be          depending on the extent of their
                 experiencing in their communities.    involvement and the circumstances
                 In Sierra Leone, the revolutionary    under which they became part of
                 United Front made a practice of       the armed group.
                 raiding villages and capturing
                 adolescents and children and          DDr programs should be based
                 forcing them to join their rebel      on a clear understanding of
                 groups. The children were abused,     gender roles, relations and the
                 raped, starved, drugged, and          specific gender inequalities
                 forced to kill. Many of those         in a given population. When
                 abducted remained with the            disarming involves exchanges
                 rebels for several years under        for agriculture projects, training
                 deprived conditions. The method of    or equipment, it is important that
                 conscripting fighters by abduction    decisions are based on a gendered
                 and indoctrination is more common     understanding of who does what
                 than most people realize. The         in a particular community. One
                 same pattern has been found in        way to achieve that objective
                 Uganda, Mozambique, Liberia,          is to increase the involvement
                 and elsewhere. The deep-              of women’s organizations and
                 seated problems that result           peace movements in disarmament
                 from interrupted education, lack      discussions. It is often useful

to include female soldiers in           protectors, and women in refugee
consultative groups who plan DDr        or IDP camps are often heads-of-
programs. The agency responsible        households.
for setting up DDr programs in
a given country should ensure           War-induced migration and
that program documentation and          mobility put unaccompanied
announcements include specific          women and children at greater
references to women and girl            risk of violence during flight. They
combatants, supporters, and             frequently lack documentation to             the coSt of
dependents for inclusion. Women         prove their entitlement to food,             Survival
leaders are important stakeholders      health services, and shelter, and
in ending conflict, and as such         consequently may be obligated to             Lack of equal access to food in
should be involved in drafting DDr      exchange sex for survival.2 Lack
                                                                                     emergency situations is one of
                                        of protection exposes women and
plans and programs.                                                                  the primary reasons that war-
                                        girls to sexual abuse - including
                                                                                     affected women and girls adopt
                                        rape - and increases their risks
women’S needS in                        of exposure to HIV/AIDS. The                 high risk behavior such as ex-
                                                                                     changing sex for food. In coun-
conflict SituationS                     Women’s Commission for refugee
                                                                                     tries like Liberia, Burundi, Ivory
                                        Women and Children and other
                                        non-governmental organizations               Coast, East Timor, Congo, and
Women are among the most
                                        (nGOs) have on a number of                   Bosnia, UN Peacekeepers have
vulnerable groups during conflict
                                        occasions urged the United                   been accused of exchanging
for more reasons than just
                                        nations High Commission for                  sex for food with girls as young
violence. Large flows of refugees
                                        refugees (UnHCr) to address                  as eight. A report conducted
and internally displaced persons
                                        problems arising from the fact that          by Save the Children in Libe-
(IDPs) are associated with
                                        female refugees and internally               ria found that parents of these
most conflicts, and providing
                                        displaced women often do not                 abused girls refused to complain
proper protection for all is vital.
                                        have the right to hold their own             because offering sex seemed to
Emergency measures must be              documentation and registration               be their only option for acquiring
taken to provide basic survival         papers. Despite recent sexual                food. (The Washington Times,
requirements – physical security,       abuse scandals in West Africa                “The UN Sex-for-Food Scandal”)
access to water, food, health           - many incidents were reported of
care and shelter – and certain          women exchanging sex for food                In Northern Uganda, girl “night
vulnerable groups require               they were entitled to, but unable            commuters” are known to ex-
protective measures to prevent          to obtain for lack of documentation          change sex for money in order to
exploitation and abuse in these         - the problem has persisted.                 pay for their school fees. (World
situations. reports from human
                                                                                     Vision, “Pawns of Politics: Chil-
rights advocacy groups document
                                                                                     dren, Conflict and Peace in
many examples of the exploitation
                                                                                     Northern Uganda”)
and abuse of women and children
affected by conflict. Women in
refugee and IDP camps face              2        Issues of Power and Gender in
                                        Complex Emergencies” in Emergency Re-
sexual exploitation and a lack of       lief Operations edited by Kevin M. Cahill,
physical security. This is especially   M.D. ; Fordham University Press, nY, 2003
                                        [ISBn 0-8232-2240-3]
true in households without male

                                                                               WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007     7

                 women and conflict-                      trafficking of women
                 related Social                           and girlS
                                                          Trafficking involves the abduction
                 In addition to food and shelter,         of women and girls (in some
                 women affected by war also need          cases boys) for the purpose of
                 means of generating incomes.             transporting them across borders
                 Widows are often unable to               to locations where they are forced
                 provide for themselves and their         to work in brothels or as domestic
                 families in traditional societies,       or industrial “slaves.” Conflict
                 such as in parts of Afghanistan.         and post-conflict environments
                 Due to cultural and religious            provide favorable conditions for
                 restraints, lack of education or         trafficking because of the poverty
                 child-care responsibilities, women       that war causes. Traffickers who
                 are not always able to obtain            promise families they will look
                 meaningful employment and are            after their daughters, by providing
                 therefore unable to provide for their    employment as domestic workers
                 families. Given their isolation and      in another country, take advantage
                 seclusion, it is difficult for nGOs      of the destitute circumstances
                 to assist them, and governments          of war-affected households. A
                 may be either unwilling or unable        small sum of money may be paid
                 to provide the necessary social          to the family to make up for the
                 services. While it is vital to present   loss of labor to the household
                 economic opportunities to women,         (in Afghanistan, the sum was
                 it is imperative to undertake this       between $50 and $100). Once
                 with sensitivity to the current          the women leave their homes,
                 social climate in order to avoid         traffickers take away the women’s
                 exacerbating the problem.                travel documents, restrict their
                                                          freedom and do not permit them to
                 Legal and political processes            contact their families. The chaotic
                 often fail to recognize the role of      conditions associated with conflict
                 women in maintaining social order        also make it easier for traffickers to
                 during conflict and post-conflict        operate because of the confusion
                 reconstruction. They also fail to        and lack of police enforcement.
                 adequately recognize the particular
                 harm suffered by women. Women’s          Prevention of human trafficking is
                 lack of awareness of matters such        well served by the promotion of
                 as property and inheritance rights       public awareness of the problem.
                 - also culturally determined - may       The challenge of responding to
                 lead to further disempowerment.          this grave violation of human
                 In general, conflicts exacerbate         rights is compounded by its covert
                 gender disparities, both in society      and underground character.
                 at large and in families.                Women’s groups and networks are

effective channels through which       health. In order for reconstruction
to disseminate information about       efforts to be successful, and
trafficking.                           for civil societies to become
                                       rehabilitated, implementers of
lingering effectS                      health programs in post-conflict
                                       situations should include funds
Even after hostilities cease, a        for mental health components. It
variety of conflict-related health     is important to bear in mind that
issues persist, such as post-          women are likely to have suffered
traumatic stress, malnutrition,        psychologically in different ways
war-related injuries, and the          than men as a result of personal
scars of sexual abuse. The lack        loss, separation from family, rape
of reproductive health services        or other physical abuse. rape
in particular has harmful long-        in particular affects not only the
term ramifications for women and       female victim, but also her family
their children. Maternal and child     and community who are forced to
mortality rates soar when services     witness it.
are absent. Women are often
forced to give birth away from their   Violence against women in
traditional medical practitioners.     the context of conflict has a
The risk for contracting               broader effect on the viability and
communicable diseases also rises       sustainability of other development
during conflict, as heightened         programs and dimensions of
population mobility, increased         social welfare. The trauma,
presence of soldiers, relaxed social   adverse health impact, and loss
behavior controls, and widespread      of educational opportunities and
poverty are common in conflict         productivity suffered by women
situations, leading to high-risk       has an effect both through the
behavior and increased exposure        additional burden on social
to HIV and other diseases. Another     institutions and the loss of the
lasting consequence of conflict for    full social contribution of women,
women is the impact on children.       whose critical role in overall
In cases where rape has been a         development is now axiomatic.
weapon, unwanted pregnancies
often lead to the abandonment of       competing intereStS
the resulting children.
                                       Given the nature of post-conflict
Despite extensive documentation        assistance, it is easy to overlook
on the detrimental effects of          the specific role that women may
trauma on reconstruction, a very       have played during the conflict
small percentage of post-conflict      or the ways in which they may
reconstruction funding covers          have helped mitigate conflict. The
programs to address mental             general needs of the population

                                                                         WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   9

                  are overwhelming in countries         As in the case of rwanda,
                  emerging from conflict, and           changes in demographics (more
                  priorities for aid organizations      women may survive the conflict
                  providing emergency assistance        than men) can mean that there
                  are humanitarian in nature. As        are more positions available
                  aid organizations grapple with        for women in government and
                  where to even begin in such           commercial posts. This allows
                  situations, the temptation to avoid   women to advance their rights in
                  gender issues is great, especially    post-conflict, newly-established
                  given the immediate needs of          governments through constitutional
                  reconstruction and enabling a         revisions and new policies.
                  fledgling government. It is during    Programming interventions should
                  this transition from emergency        endeavor to build on these positive
                  response to stabilization efforts     aspects by supporting initiatives
                  that the opportunity to include       that take advantage of the shifts
                  women in conflict programming         in gender power relationships,
                  can be seized or lost.                while remaining aware of potential
                                                        resentment from men because
                  poSitive effectS of                   of women’s positive gains in
                                                        status. Positive changes for
                  conflict on women                     women must be sustained by
                                                        supportive programming that builds
                  While the negative consequences
                                                        skills, provides education and
                  of conflict are widely accepted,
                                                        promotes leadership so that the
                  the disturbance of established
                                                        advancements women achieved
                  norms can also have unintended
                                                        will remain when the conflict ends.
                  positive effects on the status and
                  role of women in their societies,
                                                        The argument that conflict may
                  and therefore on their role in
                                                        bring net positive changes for
                  development. For example,
                                                        women, however, is strongly
                  women’s social and economic
                                                        contested by some scholars who
                  responsibilities may increase when
                                                        point to the huge price women pay
                  women are obliged to take over
                                                        in pain, suffering, and loss for the
                  the responsibility of supporting
                                                        newfound gains. regardless of the
                  their households. Often that
                                                        debate, assistance to war-affected
                  requires learning new skills that
                                                        communities should recognize
                  enable women to perform jobs
                                                        the positive and negative ways in
                  previously held by men or that
                                                        which conflict may affect women,
                  prepare them for entrepreneurial
                                                        and programs should capitalize
                  income-generating activities. This
                                                        on positive changes by providing
                  can help women achieve greater
                                                        support where needed.
                  financial independence and lead to
                  long-term changes in the gendered
                  division of labor.

leSSonS learned
Support women’S                         training, literacy and education
                                        courses, and income-generating
                                        activities. Women’s networks are
                                        often the most effective means
Because of issues of diminished
                                        of disseminating information to         the mano river
individual social status in many
countries, women alone are often
                                        communities, and they are likewise      women’S peace
                                        the most efficient means to find
not empowered to effect change.                                                 network
                                        out about women’s interests and
Collective action by them mitigates
                                        needs. These networks also
this powerlessness to a degree.                                                 The power of women’s networks
                                        provide donors with ready access
Women’s networks may begin with                                                 was evident in the Mano river
                                        to women who can be involved
a few women seeking solidarity by                                               Women’s Peace network - a
                                        in assistance programs. Such
uniting; sometimes their only goal                                              formidable linkage of women in
                                        network linkages need recognition
is to find better ways to survive the                                           three countries with the common
                                        and support; the important role
social upheaval of war. Yet over                                                purpose of bringing peace to the
                                        they play in conflict mitigation is
time they may grow to have real                                                 West African region. The Mano
                                        too often overlooked. Programming
influence. networks can expand                                                  river network grew out of the
                                        interventions by international
outside borders and across both                                                 intense desires of a few strong
                                        donors and NGOs can tap into
political and economic boundaries,                                              women to put an end to the
                                        such networks to increase program
and when donors support                                                         fighting and suffering caused by
                                        effectiveness and coverage.
women’s networks the potential                                                  conflict.
to empower women expands
substantially. Women leaders            addreSS gender-
and entrepreneurs emerge from           BaSed violence and
networks and provide role models        conflict
for other women. Such institutional
infrastructure also provides a          The fact that gender-based
basis for women’s involvement in        violence increases in conflict-
the broader socio-economic and          affected communities is well
political infrastructure of long-term   established, though the specific
sustainable development.                roots of the problem remain
                                        unclear. The increased occurrence
Women’s organizations can take          of gender-based violence may be
many forms – from local nGOs            attributed to general climates of
to religious groups or common           violence in conflict environments;
purpose units, such as women            the lack of social order, police
farmers’ unions. These groups           enforcement, and unemployment
provide assistance to women in          can also contribute to this problem.
the form of services like childcare,
shelters for battered women, skills

                                                                          WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007    

                  During times of conflict, rape and      Although most international
                  other forms of sexual violence are      attention is focused on rape,
                  common. Sexual violence is used         women and young girls in conflict
                  in war to shame and humiliate           areas - like Darfur, in western
                  the enemy, as a reward to the           Sudan, for example - risk daily
                  conquering side, and as a means         physical attacks of all kinds
                  to spread terror and to weaken          when they leave refugee camps
                  morale. It may also be used to          to collect essential supplies
                  undermine women’s ability to            like firewood and water. Post-
                  sustain their communities during        conflict Afghanistan and Iraq also
                  times of conflict. Where community      experienced a significant increase
                  support structures have been            in violence against women
                  eroded by displacement, violence        because of breakdowns in security.
                  occurs within the community as          Indeed, in Afghanistan, Mullah
                  well. normal cultural controls over     Omar cited the lack of security for
                  behavior tend to be weakened            citizens – especially rape, torture,
                  during times of conflict and            and murder of women and children
                  violence becomes more prevalent.        – as one of the main reasons
                  For example, women in Sierra            the Taliban emerged in the mid-
                  Leone and Liberia described the         1990s. Whenever social protection
                  situation in their countries – where    systems for communities break
                  rebel fighters used rape, torture,      down, gender-based violence
                  and amputations as strategic            intensifies, leading to further
                  tactics – as “cultures of violence.”    deterioration of women’s status.
                                                          Cambodian women assert that the
                  The far-reaching consequences           brutal Pol Pot regime and conflict
                  of rape linger not only with the        significantly influenced men in their
                  victims, but also with their families   society, causing them to become
                  and society long after the conflict     more violent and to lose respect for
                  ends. Consequently, both the            women and family life.
                  rape survivor and relatives feel
                  shamed and humiliated. During           develop cultural
                  the rwanda genocide of Hutus
                  against Tutsis, an estimated 0%
                  of women were raped. Babies
                                                          As discussed in the Key Issues
                  born as a result of the rapes were
                                                          section, having a firm cultural
                  unwanted reminders of a period
                                                          understanding is essential to any
                  of horror. The rapes of more than
                                                          programmatic response to women
                  20,000 women during conflicts in
                                                          and conflict. Programming must
                  the countries of former-Yugoslavia
                                                          be sensitive to cultural practices,
                  brought rape to the fore as a war
                                                          and both women and men must be
                                                          consulted and actively engaged
                                                          in planning and implementing

programs designed to assist            incorporated into all programming
them. International assistance         from the earliest interventions.
agencies have not given adequate
attention to the potential for         An example of the need for a solid
“gender backlash.” In post-            cultural understanding comes from
conflict Afghanistan, for example,     the rwandan refugee camps.
some well-intentioned programs         Following the rwanda genocide
implemented by nGOs targeted           that began in early April 1994,
women for primary assistance,          when Hutu militants launched a
such as handicraft training or         massive campaign to eliminate
poultry farming. While in many         Tutsis and moderate Hutus,
instances households benefited,        masses of people (mostly Hutus)
some women complained that             fled the country to Tanzania and
domestic violence increased in         to the Democratic republic of
their households. This is because      Congo (DrC) to seek refuge from
their husbands resented foreign        the newly organized Tutsi army.
nGOs ignoring the cultural practice    In the rwandan refugee camps,
that male honor is linked to their     food distribution agencies made
responsibilities to care for their     serious mistakes in the beginning
families. This type of backlash        by giving men total control over
is not uncommon in conflict-           food distribution. The male leaders
affected countries and illustrates     compiled the lists of names of
the importance of understanding        families entitled to food and
cultural and traditional practices.    other items. Corruption surfaced,
It also shows the importance of        leaders hoarded sacks of grain to
involving men in programming           sell in the market, and deprived
activities even when the target        women heads of households of
beneficiaries are women.               their rations of food. Many women
                                       resorted to exchanging sex for
When social practices and culture      food in order to survive; those
restrict the participation of women,   without male family members
program implementers must              being the most vulnerable. After a
make special efforts to include the    few disastrous months and several
women in decision-making roles.        riots at the food distribution sites,
Such an approach entails more          agencies changed the system.
than simply adding women to the        They identified women leaders in
‘mix.’ It requires an analysis of      the community of refugees and
past and existing gender roles in      appointed them as food monitors,
particular settings and situations,    checkers, servers, and supervisors
and making special arrangements        to work along side the men. This
for women to contribute their          case illustrates that making an
feedback and opinions. A balanced      assumption about male community
gender perspective should be           leaders protecting women’s

                                                                          WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   

                  access to food can be a major         increaSe women’S
                  miscalculation and can open the
                                                        participation in
                  door to harmful practices against
                  women. On the other hand, the         deciSion-making
                  converse can also be dangerous to
                  women. In some areas of southern      Bringing women into the decision-
                  Sudan where family food rations       making process can be a daunting
                  were distributed only to women,       task given cultural, political, and
                  some of the recipients were           often practical constraints (such as
                  attacked and their rations stolen     lack of a pool of women with formal
                  as soon as the women walked           education). However, in countries
                  outside the sight of the World Food   around the world, it has been
                  Programme food monitors.              shown that when women have
                                                        a voice in the decision-making
                                                        process, they can often assist in
                  promote community-                    mitigating conflict even before it
                  BaSed participation                   starts. Program options in this area
                                                        can be cross-cutting and easily
                  Community-based participation         fit into larger objectives, including
                  is the key to successful program      targeting information campaigns
                  interventions, as it draws on         on voter education for women,
                  those best informed about what        promoting community-based
                  is needed and what will work. It      and/or grassroots organizations
                  also addresses the vital issue of     that include roles for women,
                  cultural understanding by involving   working with state lawmakers to
                  both men and women from the           draft laws that guarantee women’s
                  community to explain their needs      participation in parliaments or
                  and capacities. Local men and         other decision-making bodies,
                  women must be identified to           etc. These and other activities
                  participate in program design and     can be incorporated into overall
                  implementation; those lacking         programs, empowering women
                  experience in these areas can         without diverting USAID Mission
                  be guided through the process         resources.
                  and taught management and
                  monitoring techniques. Strong         In Colombia, pressure from
                  community participation makes the     women’s groups during the
                  difference between success and        1980s and 1990s was pivotal
                  failure.                              in pressuring the Colombian
                                                        Government and the revolutionary
                                                        Armed Forces of Colombia (FArC)
                                                        to engage in peace talks in 1999.
                                                        Even after the collapse of the
                                                        peace talks in 2002, women’s
                                                        groups remained steadfast in their

cause to encourage a peaceful          Mothers for Peace” that urges the
resolution to the conflict. They       government and the LTTE to stop
continue to organize peaceful          the violence and conducts other
demonstrations and vigils for the      peace-building activities.
“disappeared” and victims of the
conflict, and continue to promote      livelihoodS
awareness of the civilian costs of
war. Women’s groups have also          When women become the primary
worked regionally to promote           breadwinners in their families,
peace by engaging FArC, ELn,           due to forced displacement, the
and paramilitary leaders in informal   death of their husbands or other
dialogue, acting as mediators to       reasons, they are assuming new
resolve local conflicts, and working   economic and political roles. This
to establish “peace zones” where       shift in responsibilities may cause
community members can work and         increased tension within families
live in safety.                        and communities. Attention must
                                       be paid to the challenges to
In nepal, the woman’s group            livelihoods that women encounter
Shantimalika has provided an           during conflict.
alternative voice to that of the
violent demonstrators who flooded      These new roles also hold new
the streets of nepal in early          opportunities. In Somalia, women
2006. Shantimalika organized           who had traditionally helped
peaceful demonstrations that           support their families through
called for peace and reconciliation.   the sale of agricultural products
Thousands of women and some            expanded their sales to include
men took part in these marches         livestock and khaat while the
illustrating that violence is not      men were away fighting in the
needed to voice opinions and be        conflict. When the men returned,
heard. In Sri Lanka, women like        the women continued to work in
Visaka Dharmadasa continue             these new areas because many
to work relentlessly on peace          of the men were unable to work
activities. Ms. Dharmadasa, who        due to disabilities or the institutions
has worked to convey messages          that used to employ them had
from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil    collapsed during the conflict.
Eelam (LTTE) to the government
of Sri Lanka during peace talks        Women’s involvement in
when the LTTE refused to speak         livelihood protection means they
directly with government officials,    need to be involved in recovery
has initiated dialogues among          strategies. Assistance should help
community leaders from different       women maximize their livelihood
sides of the conflict. She organized   efforts while also creating new
a group called “Mobilizing             employment opportunities for men

                                                                            WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   

                                               to assist their households. There             during the conflict. They should
                                               should be a balance between                   also consider the ways in which
                                               maintaining the new roles of the              women are working, both formally
                                               women and meeting the needs of                and informally, in different sectors.
                                               the returning men.                            When developing a livelihoods
                                                                                             program, it is important to consider
                                               In looking at the livelihoods                 the time and other employment
                                               component, donors should                      constraints on the target
                                               consider how traditional roles                beneficiaries.
                                               and responsibilities have shifted
                                               Below: Widow’s Bakery: This bakery in west Kabul employs 12 women. They
                                               earn a reliable income weighting dough and kneading, rolling and shapping it into
                                               flatbread. Providing employment opportunities for single women in post-conflict
                                               situations lowers their risk of victimization.
     Photo credit: Alejandro Chicheri, World
     Food Program

program optionS
The level of awareness about            promoting greater gender equality,
the impact of conflict on women         and for the pragmatic benefits of
has steadily risen over the past        enlisting the distinct knowledge,
decade, though much remains to          networks, and resources that
be explored about the complex           women offer. Women’s inclusion
issues surrounding this subject.        also increases programmatic
Programmatic responses aimed            viability through broader social
at improving the lives of conflict-     buy-in.
affected women may involve
overlapping and complementary           1. protection
approaches. The following
programs are examples of                •       In western darfur, an
innovative initiatives that have        estimated 80% of the IDP camp
helped to mitigate the negative         residents are women and children,
consequences of conflict on             many of whom have been targets
women. Often the impact of these        of gender-based violence.
programs is not easily measured.        One activity that has proved
Yet many of the following have          to be successful has been the
shown promise in alleviating            organization of joint patrols by the
the burden placed on women in           Sudanese police and the African
conflict, and new tools are being       Union, which accompany women
developed for assessing their           outside IDP camps when they
benefits.                               look for firewood. Alternatively,
                                        another strategy that has worked
In order to be effective, all           is the development of fuel-efficient
development programming must            stoves that reduce the amount of
incorporate an understanding of         firewood women need to burn for
the myriad of ways that gender          household needs, decreasing the
shapes various determinants and         number of trips needed outside the
dimensions of conflict. Certainly, to   camp.
the extent possible, development        •       Implementers should
programming should have                 design programs to include
among its principal objectives          awareness-raising campaigns,
the mitigation of the negative          both for women to be aware that
consequences of conflict. It is         help is available to them and to
equally clear that women’s roles        educate communities that gender-
in the prevention and resolution        based violence is unacceptable
of conflict should be promoted, to      and in violation of human rights.
improve their health and well-being     Providing Crisis Intervention
and for the normative purpose of        Teams, as done in the rwandan

                                                                          WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   7

                  refugee camps, will offer a range      • The Women’s Commission
                  of services, such as legal, medical,   for refugee Women and Children
                  counseling, food, and clothing, to     implements a global program
                  survivors of rape and other forms      to increase the participation of
                  of violence.                           refugee and internally displaced
                                                         women in decision-making
                  2. increaSe women’S                    activities. Funded by the U.S.
                                                         Department of State, this program
                  participation                          promotes women’s participation
                  in deciSion-making                     by empowering women’s groups
                                                         to take leading roles in refugee
                  • The Association of Female            and IDP camp management
                  Lawyers of liberia (AFELL) was         and assistance programs and
                  established in 1994 as a non-profit,   addressing such issues as unequal
                  nongovernmental organization           access to food, supplies and other
                  to advocate for the rights and         necessities. The focus on camp
                  promote the advancement of             management has helped bring
                  women and children. AFELL              about major changes in how basic
                  is a membership organization           items and services are allocated
                  of resident and non-resident           in conflict-affected settings. The
                  attorneys and is funded by dues        program has also addressed
                  and donations. The group has led       reproductive health, maternal/child
                  successful campaigns to pass           health, income generation and
                  the national Inheritance Bill and      skills training activities, education,
                  to create the first Juvenile Court.    and literacy programming for
                  AFELL has also led a sensitization     women.
                  and awareness campaign to
                  strengthen the Magisterial Courts
                                                         3. women’S roleS in
                  and its members have participated
                  in reconciliation and peace-building   conflict reSolution
                  initiatives.                           and peace
                  • The STAr network in the
                  Balkans supports women working         • In 2000, the Mano river
                  for democratic change and              Union Women Peace network
                  women’s equitable participation        (MArWOPnET) was founded by
                  in the political decision-making       women from Guinea, Sierra Leone,
                  process. Through programs              and Liberia, who recognized
                  implemented in Bosnia-                 that there would be no peace
                  Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo,          in liberia without peace in the
                  Macedonia and Serbia, network          region. MArWOPnET put forth
                  members are trained in public          an initiative to mediate the conflict
                  policy advocacy skills and work        and disagreement between
                  with the media to educate the          Guinea and Liberia and dispatched
                  public and policy makers.

a delegation to appeal to the          4. JoB training and
feuding heads of states in the
region. MArWOPnET has issued
statements urging ECOWAS
and the Un to intervene in the         • The USAID-funded skills
Liberian crisis. MArWOPnET’s           training program for women
efforts were commended by the          in azerbaijan focused on
Un Security Council in resolution      providing practical training in
1408 on the situation in Liberia. In   skills for employment, such as
2000, women spoke out against          office procedures, clerical work,
war as the Women in Peace-             computer and secretarial skills.
building network staged sit-ins        By increasing women’s skills and
in Monrovia, also protesting the       allowing them better access to
severe economic conditions             the job market, women heads of
affecting the country.                 households are better equipped
• Seven Afghan women                   to support themselves and their
participants of the United nations     families.
Fourth World Conference on             • In iraq, USAID-funded
Women in Beijing, China, along         vocational training and
with other Afghan women,               employment service programs
established the afghan Women’s         seek to have 30 percent of their
network (AWn) in 1996. Today           participants be women. This is
there are 72 nGOs and 3,000            an ambitious goal given security
individuals who have membership        constraints and conservative
in AWn. Members work to create         practices among some groups.
an Afghan community which              Programming approaches to
values, respects, and encourages       address these problems have
the tremendous capacities of           included networking with women’s
women and their contributions to       groups, a community outreach
Afghan culture and society through     component, and cooperation
capacity building, networking and      with the Ministry of Labor and
advocacy.                              Social Affairs and the Ministry of
• In Sierra leone, grassroots          Education.
women’s organizations organized        • In post-conflict mozambique,
public demonstrations and made         women expressed interest in
radio broadcasts to express their      vocational training in such non-
desire for an end to fighting.         traditional skills as carpentry,
International nGOs have                masonry and metalworking - areas
supported the women’s groups by        in which they felt they had better
providing meeting places, training,    chances of finding employment.
and funding.                           The international implementing
                                       nGOs trained women in building
                                       trade skills and were able to assist
                                       them in securing jobs. As this

                                                                         WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   19

                  case illustrates, it is important       microenterprise activities in the
                  to learn what women want as             homes (e.g. mat-weaving) and
                  well as to assess potential             enabling children to study at night
                  employment opportunities. Women         while reducing monthly lighting
                  in many cultures are willing to         costs by about 70 percent.
                  learn new skills, but in many
                  instances, foreign agencies make        5. State policy and
                  assumptions that don’t accurately
                  represent the views of their target
                                                          women’S legal
                  populations.                            rightS
                  • The afghanistan Women’s
                  Business Federation (AWBF)              • In afghanistan, USAID and
                  was created by a core group             the U.S. Department of State-
                  of 18 women’s business                  funded initiatives provide training
                  associations and aims to empower        to women lawyers and judges
                  Afghanistan’s women to more             to enable professional women
                  effectively participate in its market   to resume careers cut short by
                  economy by enhancing business           conflict and the Taliban regime.
                  development skills and increasing       Courses and study tours give
                  earning potential. The associations     participants opportunities to update
                  formed AWBF in order to ensure          their professional knowledge, to
                  synergy among associations, as          observe the legal system of other
                  well as to serve as a capacity          countries, and to learn new skills,
                  building network for women’s            including the use of computers.
                  organizations. Funded by USAID,         • In cambodia, USAID and
                  this network of associations, which     other donors have provided
                  will eventually include national,       support to women-run local nGOs
                  provincial and local organizations,     that focused on teaching women
                  will provide Afghanistan’s women        how to participate in government
                  entrepreneurs with the support          processes, including running for
                  they need to achieve success.           elected offices. The program also
                  AWBF focuses on technical               promoted the use of the media to
                  assistance, economic development        advance women’s participation in
                  initiatives, mentorship, and            political processes. The campaign
                  membership services in order to         resulted in positive outcomes.
                  address the changing needs of           After a campaign to train women
                  women in business.                      to run for public office and to
                  • In mindanao, women’s                  participate in electoral processes,
                  employment is supported using           the percentage of women
                  renewable solar energy. USAID           holding elected offices increased
                  provides lighting for households in     dramatically. For the first time,
                  remote, former rebel communities        Cambodian women began to have
                  in Mindanao, allowing women’s           a voice in civil society.
                                                          • Following conflict, governments

need assistance in addressing          6. additional
gender appropriately and in
instituting gender-balanced
policies and laws. In afghanistan,     conSiderationS
USAID funded a gender advisor
to work closely with the Ministry of   • Programming to benefit and
Women’s Affairs and the Ministry       involve women in reconstruction
of rehabilitation and rural            might span many sectors,
Development to help mainstream         including rebuilding damaged
gender in all sectors and build        infrastructure, revamping
the capacities of the ministries.      water and sanitation systems,
The advisor helped orient the          telecommunications, and power
ministries toward policy formation     grids. Women want opportunities
on issues that affect women such       to work in non-traditional as well
as legal rights, employment rights,    as traditional sectors. Gender
marriage and inheritance laws, and     balance should be the objective
addressing gender violence.            for interventions. Donors can
• USAID funded, nGO-                   play pivotal roles by employing
implemented programs in rwanda         gender analysis, through
that have helped women sort            coordination and collaboration on
out the legal issues surrounding       gender issues, and by exerting
access to land and property in the     appropriate pressure on peacetime
post-genocide society.                 governments to adopt gender
• In afghanistan, an NGO               equity in all sectors.
organized gender-sensitizing           • Human rights training, legal
training for Ministry of refugees’     literacy, gender-based violence
employees. These government            awareness, and trauma response
workers came into daily contact        programming are extremely
with women and girls who were          important elements - all of which
returning to Afghanistan. Male         provide solid building blocks
employees had not previously           for establishing more peaceful
been included in any gender-           societies.
related training, and the training     • Programming to assist women
proved extremely useful in             in conflict situations should not
assisting female refugees and          be undertaken in isolation from
returnees. Through this training,      men. Their consultation and
employees began to understand          inputs are needed. Engaging
the additional difficulties faced      men in pre-program planning
by females in Afghanistan and          greatly enhances the chances of
were therefore better able to treat    full community participation and
them with appropriate levels of        acceptance of program activities.
assistance.                            Both women and men from the
                                       affected community should be

                                                                       WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   2

                                                                                                    involved in the implementation,
                                                                                                    monitoring, and analysis of
                                                                                                    program interventions wherever
                                                                                                    • Comprehensive situational
                                                                                                    analyses help identify the most
                                                                                                    important gender issues in
                                                                                                    conflict-affected communities, and
                                                                                                    therefore the most appropriate
                                                                                                    programmatic approaches. One
                                                                                                    method for situational analysis,
                                                                                                    which has been used by UnHCr
                                                                                                    and was developed by Mary
                                                                                                    Anderson, is called People
                                                                                                    Oriented Planning (POP). POP
                                                                                                    uses simple matrixes to diagram
                                                                                                    the evolution of gender roles in a
                                                                                                    community as a result of conflict
                                                                                                    or displacement. Using such
                                                                                                    analytical techniques to understand
                                                                                                    the gender dynamics in a particular
                                                                                                    population helps programmers
                                                                                                    to plan appropriate interventions
                                                                                                    compatible with cultural norms.
                                                                   Photo credit: M. Lueders/USAID

Above: Afghan woman in burqa with her child waiting outside
a clinic. USAID is funding programs that educate women
about vaccinations to combat the high rate of child mortality in

women’S commiSSion for refugee women and children
The Women’s Commission for refugee Women and Children is the
only advocacy organization with the mandate to support refugee and
IDP women and children. It advocates for the inclusion of refugee and
IDP women, children and adolescents in humanitarian assistance and
protection programs, and tries to ensure that their voices are heard at
every level of government.

incluSive Security: women waging peace
Women Waging Peace connects women addressing conflict around
the world in the belief that they have a role to play “in preventing violent
conflict, stopping war, reconstructing ravaged societies, and sustaining
peace in fragile areas around the world.” Women Waging Peace
advocates for the full participation of women in formal and informal peace
processes. The initiative is run by the Women and Public Policy Program
at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Hunt Alternatives.

Sexual violence and armed conflict: united nationS
This issue of Women2000 provides extensive information on sexual
violence and armed conflict. It addresses the history of sexual violence
during conflict and discusses the international community’s response
to sexual violence. It was published by the Un Division for the
Advancement of Women in April 1998.

guidelineS for gender analySiS and aSSeSSment
An inter-agency workshop on “Integration of Gender in needs
Assessment and Planning of Humanitarian Assistance” resulted in
summary guidelines and a checklist for integrating gender analysis and

                                                                           WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   2

                 women and war
                 In a 2000 article, Charlotte Lindsey of the International Committee of the
                 red Cross (ICrC) discusses the varying ways women experience armed
                 conflict. This article addresses the different roles women play during
                 conflict, including combatant, victim of sexual violence, and IDP. It also
                 provides an overview of the ICrC’s work to assist and protect women.

                 human rightS watch
                 Extensive information on women’s human rights developments around
                 the world is provided on Human rights Watch’s web site. The Women’s
                 rights section offers several reports about violence against women.

                 the international committee of the red croSS
                 A section of the International Committee of the red Cross’ web site is
                 dedicated to the issues women face during wartime. The site includes
                 useful reports and statements on the issue. Information is also available
                 about women and international humanitarian law.

                 united nationS high commiSSioner for refugeeS
                 The United nations High Commissioner for refugees’ refworld database
                 includes refugee country of origin and legal information. It contains many
                 publications on women and conflict.

                 united nationS development fund for women
                 The United nations Development Fund for Women (UnIFEM) provides
                 financial and technical assistance to programs that support women’s
                 empowerment and gender equity. UnIFEM focuses on ending violence
                 against women, reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and
                 girls, achieving gender equality in democratic governance, and reducing
                 feminized poverty.

u.S. State department’S office of international
women’S iSSueS
The U.S. State Department’s Office of International Women’s Issues
provides information and fact sheets on women’s situation in several
countries on its web site. The office is responsible for coordinating the
integration of women’s issues into the broader U.S. strategic, economic
and diplomatic goals.

united nationS’ diviSion for the advancement of women
Through its web site, the U.n.’s Division for the Advancement of
Women provides analyses of women’s rights issues in a global context,
promoting awareness of such issues and advocating for gender equality.
Also addressed are everyday issues faced by women who are living in
conflict situations. The site promotes women’s contribution to fostering a
culture of peace.
the 1995 BeiJing conference on women
This United nations web site offers information on the Fourth World
Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China, in September 1995.
It covers the many issues faced by women who are living in conflict

                                                                            WOMEN & CONFLICT, 2007   2

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